Ranking high in Google shouldn’t be the only goal for a law firm. Consider using the concepts of design thinking in your goals so that your client’s experience is thoughtfully streamlined throughout each interaction with your firm.
First you should define your goals so that you can ensure your website and messaging is in alignment with those goals. You should then monitor and measure your progress to ensure that there is a measurable difference after you implement the concepts of design thinking.
You will find that design thinking processes will give you better results. One of your goals should be to build trust between you and your clients. As you convey your solutions on your website and address the client’s problems, that trust will start to grow.
Think about what your client wants and needs and focus your messaging on your client, not the firm. As you think about your client’s needs, this can change how you describe your different services and processes.
This is where design thinking is more involved in your law practice as you make it more client centered.
What is design thinking?
Design thinking involves using design principles to build a website and make it user-friendly for lawyers clients. However, it can also be used in all of your systems throughout your firm, from your email campaigns, your intake system, and your client onboarding system, as well as your follow up with current and past clients. Design thinking processes aim to build your firm using design principles.
Crafting your firm over time using design thinking will help deliver your legal services in a way that speaks to your clients and ensures a high level of client satisfaction. Your processes will become more straightforward for a client to follow, and the beautiful design and client-focused words will keep your ideal client on the page.
Legal thinking and design thinking can go hand in hand to build a website that is more successful in delivering services to your clients.
As a lawyer, you want to focus on the client who comes to your website. You want to solve their problems and sympathize with them. Show them how you can resolve their issues in a more innovative and friendly way.
Here are five tips on how to use design thinking processes in your problem solving:
As a lawyer, you want to tackle problems your clients have. Take one problem, like divorce, and write down all the different issues your clients want to be solved if you were to take their case.
Then focus on all the solutions you offer, and the ways this will make your client feel. These feelings are the emotions you should convey on your website and in your messaging so that your potential clients understand that you understand them and that you are the right lawyer for them to hire. T
This is where you should question all the normal, cliche responses to the problems your client has that other firms typically offer. Start to think about out-of-the-box solutions. You can break all the rules in this step and question perceived limits so that your firm will be different, memorable, and top of mind for your potential clients.
Think about what your client wants and write down the steps to take to meet their desires.
In the divorce example, one problem that the client may want to be solved is to get separation with the least amount of trouble with their spouse.
If you reframe the problem and work backward after you think of a solution, you will find the most critical elements for the situation.
Putting yourself in the shoes of your ideal client can help you empathize with them. You will discover how to serve them better, and that will show in your design elements and the words you write. You want to help them and show that you care.
Become committed to using design thinking processes for your law firm, even if you have a fear of failure. When you are comfortable and embrace the possibility of failure, then you can be more creative with your ideas and solutions.
Why don’t lawyers use design thinking?
Lawyers often don’t set their sights on problem-solving for their firms, instead they often present the problem and hope the client makes the connection on their own. This has made the client experience not very user-friendly.
Instead, your firm should clearly illustrate how it offers solutions and can be helpful.
Perfectionism is a trait of many lawyers, and this usually stops action and creativity in its tracks. As a result, there is a tendency for many websites to avoid emotional connections which can appear harsh. Many times lawyers discount the amount of effort this takes, and just want a quick website up and running.
This misses the opportunity to present the content in a thoughtful and strategic way that connects with their potential clients and moves them to action. The result is a website that doesn’t get much traffic, and the traffic it gets doesn’t convert so the firm is left thinking the website “doesn’t work”.
How Design Thinking Can Help Your Law firm
Design thinking is a powerful tool to help lawyers and law firms create more innovative processes for their clients.
As a lawyer collects client information that addresses their needs and problems, they can begin to implement solutions with real users. Design thinking processes can help leverage your whole team to find several different solutions to fix the same problem.
From there, you can upgrade your systems and processes and tools used to automate client onboarding and a smoother and user-friendly service.
What are some ways to use Design Thinking in the legal profession?
Many lawyers may wonder how design ties in with law. They may not yet understand the difference between user-friendly design and high-pressure sales tactics. It’s sales that they want through their website, but they don’t see the connection with design.
Delivery of legal services in a more user-friendly way should be another focus for lawyers.
Design thinking processes can also be used to communicate and help improve relationships between law firms and legal departments. Some ways to re-create processes are to:
- Automate contracts
- Track costs and communicate the budget progress to a client
- Re-design internal processes such as attorney onboarding, conflict checking, or associate training
- Use alternative service providers and new technology to reduce cost and improve turn-around time
Design thinking is a way to find better ways of doing things and to find tools to do them more efficiently.
How to begin
There are many great resources available for lawyers considering how to use design thinking within their firm.
The first place to start is the Stanford Legal Design Lab: This site offers innovative ideas on training law students, developing new models for law services, and more.
The goal is “to build a new generation of legal products & services”. A few other resources to consider can be found here, at the Legal Tech Toolbox.
Also, keep in mind that the legal industry is often slow to change, so don’t get overwhelmed thinking it all has to be done at once. The first time you try something in creating design thinking processes may feel very chaotic. The first step is to structure your operation. If you have a team working with you, let them be involved in the whole process.
Choose a service or a process and work towards making this one thing more comfortable to deliver.
Your design thinking process is a big step towards knowing what your clients want and need, and what they like or don’t like about how you have delivered it to them.
Once you implement these ideas into your firm, you can expect excellent feedback from your clients on whether your website and onboarding processes are user-friendly, enticing, and how they are packaged to speak to them. Your marketing will also improve with these concepts of design thinking for law firms.
It’s time to be more intentional with how you design and deliver your services.
Karin Conroy earned her MBA degree at the University of California and began working on websites when the internet was young. She became known for her design sense and became the the Director of Marketing for the largest Century 21 in the world, managing the marketing team for over 2,000 agents in digital, print, and traditional media. She started Conroy Creative Counsel and has developed over 200 law industry sites, as well as writing for as a staff writer for Lawyerist(9+ years) and Attorney at Work. She is also the founder of Jarvis Law Sites, a website builder for law firms.